R Garage set to open in November

Visiting a car museum is something every true gearhead likes to do.

Many of the major automobile brands around the world maintain their own museums at their headquarters like Mercedes, Porsche, Toyota, Honda, and Nissan. Sometimes the museums commemorate a nation's automotive achievements like what you'd find in Italy, Belgium, or France. Sometimes it's even just because someone really wanted to set it up like the Petersen Automotive Museum in the US or the quirky Ikaho Toy, Doll, and Car Museum in Japan.

Whichever you visit, it's like a pilgrimage. It's our equivalent of Mecca, St. Peter's Basilica, or the Temple Mount to the respective faithful.

This Toyota collection will become a car museum... in La Union image

If you notice, all of the museums mentioned are not here in the Philippines. There exists only two that we know of that people can visit, and that's the Presidential Car Museum in Quezon City (maintained by the NHCP) and another one in Pampanga that we haven't had a chance to visit yet. There are private collections maintained in different parts of the country, and we've been fortunate enough to see a few. There exists a very extensive Mercedes-Benz collection here in Metro Manila as well as a very nice collection of classic American and Japanese cars in Davao. But none are generally open to the public for a fee.

One such collection, however, is about to form the basis for a dedicated car museum. And it will be in Bauang, La Union.

As you can see from the photo, the collection is very much based on Toyota models. It will be the first and only Toyota car collection in the country.

This Toyota collection will become a car museum... in La Union image

There will be various generations and body styles of the Corona, Corolla, and Celica on display. There will be various generations of Toyota's Land Cruiser SUVs on display, including a military surplus Mega Cruiser. There will be all kinds of Toyota sports models too like all generations of the 86 (AE86, 86), the Sports 800, as well as the Supras, and Celica Supra. And we've been told that all current GR models will also be on display.

Now many may be wondering why it's all Toyota and why in La Union. The reason is simple: the collection belongs to Richmond Glenn So. He is the General Manager of Toyota La Union and the son of Rene O. So, the founder of the dealership.

This Toyota collection will become a car museum... in La Union image

“Beside Toyota La Union is where my son's classic car collection will be displayed,” said Rene So of Toyota La Union. “The car museum is about 90% completed already.”